MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — The Kansas State University (KSU) Crops Team took first place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) national crops contest held April 15 at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California, U.S.

A total of 16 teams competed, nine in the four-year division and seven in the two-year division. The KSU team also took home four of the top five individual placings. This is the third straight title in this contest for the KSU Crops Team, and the 10th in the past 13 years.

The contest consists of four components: laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical, and plant and seed identification. The KSU team placed first in the laboratory, math and identification components, and second in the exam.

In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, crop products, plant parts and equipment, plus determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, evaluate crop production problems and describe soil properties. The agronomic exam evaluated knowledge of crop production and management, crop physiology and breeding, soil properties, soil fertility, tillage, crop harvesting and storage, weeds, insects and diseases. The math practical includes equipment calibration and other various other agronomic calculations. Seed and plant identification requires contestants to learn more than 250 plant and seed samples.

Students competing on the KSU team and their top individual placings were: Chad Huffman, senior, Cunningham, first place overall, first in math, and third in identification; Scott Henry, junior, Goff, second overall, third in lab practical, and fifth in lab practical and exam; Jason Unruh, senior, Peabody, third overall, first in agronomic exam and lab practical and fifth in identification; Levi Larkins, junior, Belvue, fifth overall, second in identification, fourth in lab practical, and fifth in math; and Kelly Yunghans, senior, Leavenworth, seventh overall and fifth in identification and math. Jake Wyrill, junior, Kirwin, was the alternate. Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, served as coach for the team.

Iowa State University was the second place team followed by the University of Illinois. In the two-year division, Hutchinson Community College was first and Cloud County Community College placed second.